Today Chris and I woke up early in order to meet our guide Liz at the Plymouth Spiritualist Church. Some of you reading this may be surprised as to where this Church is, and some may have driven by it without even knowing it. The Plymouth Spiritualist Church is actually in a former house that is now zoned as a church on the street Vic Park A, between East and Park Avenues. It is a cute little structure that we were surprised to learn typically has an audience of approximately 50 people on any given week, and also holds different workshops covering assorted topics of spiritualism throughout the week.
Spiritualism is a religion which believes that the spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living. Anyone may receive spirit messages, but formal communication sessions (séances) are held by “mediums,” who can then provide information about the afterlife. Spiritualism developed and reached its peak growth in membership from the 1840s to the 1920s, especially in English-language countries. By 1897, it was said to have more than eight million followers in the United States and Europe, and flourished for a half century without canonical texts or formal organization. Many prominent Spiritualists were women, and like most Spiritualists, supported causes such as the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage. By the late 1880s the credibility of the movement had weakened due to accusations of fraud being perpetrated by mediums, and formal Spiritualist organizations began to appear. Spiritualism is currently practiced primarily through various denominational Spiritualist Churches in the United States and United Kingdom.